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Navy and Marine Corps Medical News
October 27, 2000
Navy and Marine Corps Medical News (MEDNEWS) is a weekly
compendium of news and information contributed by commands
throughout the Navy medical department . Information contained in
MEDNEWS stories is not necessarily endorsed by Navy Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) , nor should it be considered
official Navy policy.
BUMED distributes MEDNEWS to Sailors and Marines, their
families, civilian employees and retired Navy and Marine Corps
families. Further distribution is highly encouraged.
Stories in MEDNEWS use these abbreviations after a Navy
medical professional 's name to show affiliation: MC — Medical
Corps (physician) ; DC - Dental Corps; NC - Nurse Corps; MSC -
Medical Service Corps (clinicians , researchers and
administrative managers) . Hospital Corpsmen (HM) and Dental
Technician (DT) designators are placed in front of their names.
Contents for this week's MEDNEWS:
- DoD winning 30-year war against drugs in the ranks
— TRICASE Prime clinics celebrate first year of success
— Chaplain corps launches high-tech ministry
— NH Bremerton wins at joint medical Olympics
— Anesthesiologist is a wonder who puts Sailors under
- Great Lakes pulls together for disaster drill
- TRICARE question and answer
- Healthwatch: Nutritious reading benefits health
Headline: DoD winning 30-year war against drugs in the ranks
By Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON - The incidence of service members using illegal
drugs is at a 20— year low, evidence that DoD is winning the war
against drug abuse in its ranks — a conflict that began during
the Vietnam War.
Ana Maria Salazar, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support, noted that drug use by
DoD personnel is down 90 percent compared to two decades ago.
Just 2.6 percent of all service members reported drug use within
the 30 days preceding their response to a 1998 survey, she said.
More than 27 percent of respondents in a 1980 survey said they
used illegal drugs in the preceding 30 days.
"Overall, the use of illegal drugs by service members is
down. Drug use has decreased every year since we started
monitoring it in 1980, " said Salazar.
She pointed to the effectiveness of substance abuse
education programs, DoD's zero tolerance policy toward drug use,
pre-employment and random drug testing.
"Drug use is incompatible with military service. Not
tolerating drug use is the cornerstone of our deterrence
program, " she said. "Our system identifies users and ensures
that they are punished. This approach deters drug use by other
service members and promotes readiness . "
Salazar noted that drug use "has always been a national
security concern" that affects both the Defense Department and
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy,
illegal drugs cost the national economy $110 billion in expenses
and lost revenue in 1995.
"Drug use by service members threatens their readiness to
defend our nation, " said Salazar. "Drug use by society in
general damages our ability as a nation to have a strong economy
with citizens who are focused on healthy lifestyles . This, in
itself, threatens security. "
Throughout "the post-Vietnam era" of the 1970s and early
1980s, many young Americans — military and civilian —
experimented with illegal drugs like marijuana, LSD and cocaine.
DoD had been conducting drug tests on service members since
1971, in large part to identify and treat heroin addicts who had
picked up the habit in Southeast Asia, said Salazar.
"Drug users are more prone to have accidents, to use poor
judgment and more likely to injure themselves and others, " said
Salazar. "DoD must encourage its members to become active in
drug education and community support, " said Salazar. Each of the
services manages programs that distribute information on the
dangers of drug use, she said.
Headline: TRICARE Prime clinics celebrate first year of success
From Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
PORTSMOUTH, Va. -A single candle lighting their cake
speaks not just of a time elapsed, but also of the colossal
success of TRICARE Prime Clinics Boone, Oceana, Virginia Beach
and Chesapeake, as the four clinics celebrate their first
anniversary this month.
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth was given a challenge to
convert contractor operated clinics to government-owned clinics.
"To transfer care of more than 70, 000 TRICARE Prime enrollees
without interruption, match or exceed the enrollees
satisfaction, and stay within current contract costs, " were the
guiding principles, according to Lt. Cmdr. Wilfredo Sarthou,
project officer for the conversion.
Within one year, the TPCs increased enrollment, expanded
hours and services, saved millions, and achieved unmatched
patient satisfaction ratings. The driving force for these
accomplishments has been the staff's strong commitment to go
beyond customer satisfaction
The clinics provide a full range of primary care services
to active duty family members, retirees and their family
members. "We support the readiness mission through family
readiness, " said Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Jackson, TPC Chesapeake
Officer in Charge. "In order for active duty members to be ready
to deploy, they need to feel comfortable with whom they are
entrusting their family health care, " he said.
Among the services provided to 75, 000 current TRICARE Prime
enrollees at these facilities are general health screening,
medical care for acute and chronic conditions, immunizations,
optometry, laboratory, radiology and screening mammography. To
increase access and convenience, the clinics offer extended
The key to make all this happen is the staff. "We have an
integrated staff. Whether nurse or physician, civil service or
contractor, we work as team to provide the best care possible, "
said Cmdr. Peter Kopacz, Branch Clinic Oceana Officer in Charge.
Another important element for the TRICARE Prime Clinics '
impressive performance is a swift and effective performance
improvement program with a variety of feedback systems in place,
which allows customers and staff to make suggestions and propose
Another goal is to increase wellness and health promotion
services offered at the clinics. Smoking cessation, weight
management and other illness prevention programs are in the
clinics leadership target .
Providing better care to more customers at a lesser cost is
a dynamic mission that requires constant improvement to meet
customers needs. These TRICARE Prime Clinics are committed to a
road to success that is under permanent construction.
Headline: Chaplain Corps launches high— tech ministry
From Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
WASHINGTON - ChaplainCare is a new Fleet- focused
interactive and informational web site recently launched by the
Navy Chaplain Corps.
As part of the Navy's Distance Support initiative,
ChaplainCare provides round-the-clock access to chaplain support
and religious information via an interactive web site
www.ChaplainCare.navy.mil, a specially developed CD for afloat
units, and the Navy's Integrated Call Center (1-877-41-TOUCH or
OCONUS DSN: 510-42-TOUCH .
Designed to help Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard personnel
in isolated locations find help online, ChaplainCare seeks to
link service members with the right information, the right
support, or the right person in a timely manner.
Check it out for yourself and discover a wealth of
spiritual resources and religious information. You can also ask
a question or request information via ChaplainCare@navy.mil and
receive a response within 24 hours.
In case of a pastoral emergency there is a chaplain on-call
via the Navy's Integrated Call Center. The site includes
personal prayers, links to 18 daily devotions (including one in
Spanish) , over 120 devotions written by Navy chaplains,
information on 22 religions and links to over 400 other faith
ChaplainCare cannot take the place of a person to person
encounter with a real chaplain, but is meant to expand access to
religious information and spiritual resources to Navy, Marine
and Coast Guard personnel who do not have ready access to a
Headline : NH Bremerton wins at Joint Medical Olympics
By J02 Michael Hewlett, Naval Hospital Bremerton
BREMERTON, Wa - The four military hospitals in the Puget
Sound area recently competed in the second annual Joint Medical
Teams from Naval Hospital Bremerton, Naval Hospital Oak
Harbor, Madigan Army Medical Center, and McChord Air Force Base
put their skills in field medicine to work during events
designed to test their teamwork and knowledge.
Events came down to the wire as the two Navy teams were
tied going into the last event . The spread came down to a
difference of two points. Naval Hospital Bremerton repeated
their victory and kept the trophy.
The main theme of the Olympics was teamwork. However, the
biggest display of teamwork came from the two Navy teams, that
rooted for each other during the events. "To me, the best
part of the whole thing was the teamwork we showed. We came out
and did a great job, but overall it was great to see the Navy
come out in the top two places, " said Naval Hospital Bremerton
Team Captain Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (FMF) Patrick Link.
The challenges presented to the teams consisted of a CPR
competition, combat casualty obstacle course, a written exam,
tent building competition, chemical suit dressing race and
patient carry relay race.
The obstacle course was the main draw of the competition.
Five team members, selected from a hat at the start of the
competition, carried a litter loaded with a 150 pound dummy
through a mile of wooded hillside in a race against time. Along
the course were mock patients with fake wounds. The teams had to
stop and help each patient . The wounds varied from bullet wounds
to broken bones, and included costume effects such as visible
organs. Close by each "patient" was a judge who graded each team
on its performance. Hits for mistakes added time to their final
total in the race.
"It was not only a physical challenge, but a mental one, "
said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Casey Jacobs, from the
Naval Hospital Bremerton team.
Oak Harbor showed their prowess in the written exam,
winning that competition.
The Air Force pulled out a victory in the relay race, but
it wasn't enough to escape last place.
Next year's competition will be hosted by the Air Force and
will take place at McChord Air Force Base, where the teams will
once again go head to head for the yearlong title of top in
field medicine .
Headline : Anesthesiologist is a wonder who puts Sailors under
By JOS Paul Newell, USS George Washington
USS GEORGE WASHINGTON - Lt . David DiSanto, MC, USN, loves
to relax. Whether he's out fishing the coastal waters of
Pensacola or playing the piano, DiSanto has made a hobby out of
mellowing, which is probably one of the reasons he chose to
become an anesthesiologist.
Unfortunately, being an anesthesiologist isn't all that
"You have to be very careful when administering anesthetics
to a patient. You have to know what drugs to use and how much to
use according to their weight, " said DiSanto. "Then during
surgery, you must stay alert and make sure your patient keeps
DiSanto has spent years studying and preparing for the job
he performs aboard USS George Washington. But he will tell you
too, that anesthesiology hasn't been a life-long dream. In fact,
long before choosing scrubs and an operating room to conduct his
business, DiSanto desperately wanted to fly jets.
"When I entered ROTC at the University of Rochester in
1987, I planned on being a Naval aviator, " DiSanto said. "But
when my eyesight went below 20/20, I had to find a new
profession . " So he chose medicine because he had done well in
several biochemistry classes.
Determined to take advantage of his scholarship, DiSanto
applied for and, after eight years of study, successfully became
the first NROTC midshipman to graduate from medical school at
the University of Rochester.
After graduation, he headed to the Dwight D. Eisenhower
Army Medical Center in Ft. Gordon, Ga., for his internship as an
anesthesiologist assistant . After his time there, he was sent
to Bethesda, Md. , for his three-year residency, an experience
that left him working many 20-hour days.
But when he recently heard about the chance to come to a
carrier for three months, he jumped at it .
As the GW's only anesthesiologist, his presence is
requested anytime a medical situation warrants. But DiSanto
isn't only knocking his patients out for a spell; his job
encompasses other aspects of the medical world.
"I also work with those suffering from chronic pain.
Sometimes I have to use chemicals to numb nerves with my
patients, other times I use different drugs. I deal with a lot
of lower back pain, post surgical and trauma patients . Whatever
it takes to make them safely pain— free and able to get back to
work is what I 'm interested in providing for them, " Disanto
With ambition to help his fellow shipmate, professional
attitude and a zeal for life on the sea, DiSanto is a doctor
Sailors want to keep around.
"The most important thing in being an anesthesiologist is
knowing your limitations and to never be overconfident, " Disanto
said. "If you stick to that philosophy, you'll be less inclined
to get in trouble. "
Sailors should be confident in DiSanto. Not only does the
doctor have a spotless professional record, he really seems to
care about those with which he works.
Headline: Great Lakes pulls together for disaster drill
By Lt . Youssef H. Aboul—Enein, Naval Hospital Great Lakes
GREAT LAKES, 111. - Twenty-nine students from Naval
Hospital Corps School participated in a city-run disaster drill
at the Great America Amusement Park, this month.
NTC Great Lakes is part of the Metropolitan Chicago
Healthcare Council, a consortium of over 120 hospitals in the
Chicago area. The city conducts between five and six disaster
drills a year.
The Navy participants acted as casualties and bystanders
providing a realistic exercise for Gurnee Fire Department and
the five area hospitals participating in the disaster drill.
"This gives us an opportunity to pool our resources and
expertise, particularly in preparing for a disaster or city— wide
mass casualty, " said CAPT Raymond Swisher, MSC, Naval Hospital
Great Lakes Executive Officer .
"The scenario was a violent storm that collapsed buildings
in the amusement park causing debris and injuries from flying
objects, " said HM2 (FMF) Howard Dillon, the liaison between the
naval base and the community hospitals participating in the
LCDR Gregory Jacobs, NC, and HM2 (FMF) Jessie Cabeyadao from
Naval Hospital Corps School provided on-scene leadership and
accounting for all students that participated in the drill.
"The drill lasted from 7:00 to 11:00 a.m. and although a
light rain descended on Great Lakes that day, it did not dampen
the spirits of the Corps School students who volunteered to be
moulaged casualties, " Jacobs said.
"[The training] helps us put a pulse on what the Great
Lakes fire, emergency and medical organizations are doing to
respond to disasters, " said CAPT Swisher.
Headline: TRICARE question and answer
Question : I am participating in TRICARE Standard. Do I need
to pay for my medical expenses up front, or will the doctor bill
Answer: Under TRICARE Standard, depending upon your
provider, you may be required to pay for your share of the
medical treatment up front. If you go to a doctor who
participates in the Extra network, your out-of-pocket costs will
be less than with Standard and you will not have to file claims.
Headline: Healthwatch: Nutritious reading benefits health
From Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
One of the most important guidelines for wise food shopping
is to read food labels carefully. Most food labels provide a
list of ingredients, and many also give additional information
about the nutritional value of the contents.
The nutrients listed often include calories, fat,
cholesterol, sodium, protein, other vitamins, and minerals . When
looking at any list of ingredients, remember that ingredients
are in order of their relative weight . The first ingredient is
the one that makes up the greatest part of the product . The last
ingredient on the list represents the smallest part of the
product, and the others represent amounts in between.
Food labels provide nutritional information for a typical
single serving rather than for the entire package or can,
unless, of course, that makes up one serving. The serving size
is an important measurement, since not all people eat the same
amount of food at a single setting. Try to gauge how close the
serving size is to your own eating habits in order to calculate
how many nutrients you'll be receiving at each meal.
Food labels also show the amount of certain nutrients per
serving along with the percent daily value (DV) . The DV is based
on a 2, 000-calorie diet and is the percentage of each nutrient
believed to meet the needs of the average person each day. For
example, if a certain food provides 50 percent of the DV for
vitamin C, one serving gives a person half the vitamin C needed
The little bit of time you spend reading labels at the
supermarket can yield tremendous health benefits . Compare brand
names to find the highest nutritional value at a reasonable
Finally, don't forget to read the lists of nutrients that
may be posted near fresh, unprocessed foods, such as in the meat
and produce sections of many supermarkets. You'll soon become an
expert in filling your nutritional needs.
Correction: Last week's MEDNEWS listed Capt. Gary W. Zuckerman,
use, as Commanding Officer of Naval Hospital Bremerton. Capt.
Zuckerman is the Commanding Officer at Naval Hospital Beaufort .
Comments and ideas for MEDNEWS are welcome. Story Submissions
are highly encouraged. Contact MEDNEWS editor. At email:
firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone 202—762—3218, (dsn) 762, or